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DAYTONA NOTES

Top-Finishing Brand Cars Chosen for 'Fact-Finding'

February 12, 2001|SHAV GLICK

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — NASCAR President Mike Helton said after Sunday's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Raceway that the first finishing cars of the four manufacturing brands in Winston Cup would be taken to Atlanta for a "fact-finding" wind tunnel test.

"Nothing this weekend or nothing during the month of January has given us a reason for this," Helton said. "It is simply a fact-finding mission. It's a brand new season, we got a new make [Dodge] involved and it gives us a chance to go look at an aero package that Daytona has seen for the first time."

The cars selected were Tony Stewart's No. 20 Pontiac, the Shootout winner; Dale Earnhardt's No. 3 Chevrolet, the runner-up; Rusty Wallace's No. 2 Ford, the third-place finisher; and Bill Elliott's No. 9 Dodge, the only Dodge in the race. The cars will be returned to their teams Tuesday morning.

Although Helton insisted nothing should be read into this, he acknowledged that, "I'm not going to rule out the fact that we might or could find [something] in the wind tunnel that would cause us to change anything throughout Speed Weeks.

"It's not impossible, but highly unlikely."

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Ryan Newman, the newest star in Roger Penske's racing firmament, won the ARCA Discount Auto Parts 200 for his fourth win in two starts since moving to Penske from U.S. Auto Club open-wheel racing. It was Newman's first race at Daytona.

"Now I've achieved my goal and I'm already thinking about the next race," Newman said. "I drove my first restrictor-plate race at Talladega . . . and I've learned a lot since then, especially from Buddy Baker."

Baker, a former Daytona 500 winner, has been Newman's personal tutor for Penske.

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The ARCA race was a showcase for second- and third-generation drivers.

Ronnie Hornaday, son of Winston Cup rookie Ron Jr., finished 11th; Kerry Earnhardt, Dale's oldest son, was 14th; Jason Jarrett, son of Dale and grandson of Hall of Fame driver Ned, was 21st; and Justin Labonte, son of two-time Cup champion Terry, was 34th.

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